A weight can be a lightening of existence. Chains can be freedom. The prisoner knows what freedom is clearly.
Are you advocating for self-mortification? No. I am advocating experience. No one practice. When you are impassioned, and begin cleaning house despite physical fatigue, you restructure your whole living space. You ache miserably after pushing yourself so hard, but from somewhere not explained by your body, something moved you. Experience of this I see as valuable. Some say that everything is subjective, that the spiritual and moral forces have no impact on our physical life. What of those who have exceeded human limitation to protect a loved one?
I also acknowledge that after you are done that it is a good exhaustion. One that is fulfilling. Suffering is a subjective notion. I may experience something and for me it’s suffering, a stumbling block on my spiritual path. For another it may be exciting or uplifting. The old rites and practices had a purpose, well considered or not. Our ancestors weren’t psycho. If anything, they had no real time or room to engage in something without substance. The survival imperative was much stronger. So today, we give toxins and call them medicine to deal with psychological ills because the spiritual life isn’t real enough.
Yet spirituality remains, so isn’t it part of the survival imperative? Yes. My own view is that all life is spiritual life much as the pagan cultures viewed the world. People weren’t looking for a god in the sky or in some intangible heaven. Life was life. It was spiritual, and physical, and mental. It was one life and one world and one body of experience. All intertwined. It was just what you saw and did.
I can isolate some aspect of life to talk about, some facet of the higher power, but that is at best a half truth. A useful stepping stone if we don’t let it become a stumbling block and we often do. We hold science to a standard of evidence which actually we distort. Why shouldn’t we hold any spirituality to a standard of experience? How does it improve our dealing with our very real lives? There is a difference between standard of evidence and standard of experience, and yet in spiritual experience things get reproduced; a sense of oneness, a sense of guidance and inclination toward peace with the world. Does this seem false?
Mortification of the flesh has and often does get in the way, some emotional teen cutting their wrists, but in the right context it didn’t. Cutting is currently a trend and a symptom of the addictive way of life. A need for attention. Addiction is prevalent because we are sublimating needs. We tell our kids that such and such that they experience isn’t real. That a motivation they have is strange.
We are self medicating to avoid the real problems, and the world of greed and intolerance. We demonize vices and thus wind up worshiping them. Example, greed. Greed is bad and no one really thinks about greed. The greedy person often reviles their own greed, but they don’t stop it. It is an addictive behaviour. It is taboo to think about greed, and hence our financial markets today. What are the greedy for? Of what use or good is it to have more? We don’t encourage people to think on these things. They just have to stop being greedy.
Do I think that is a bit over-generalizing? It is yes, but a general domain needs to be spoken of before you can refine the insight. I speak in general of the world we live in. It is commonly said one person can be smart but whole masses tend to get stupid. Does this contradict anyone’s experience?
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.